Peter TerVeer, 30, a gay auditor at the Library of Congress, said his “liking” a Facebook page that promoted gay adoption led to workplace discrimination, harassment and his eventual firing.
TerVeer said he’d had a “friendly” relationship with his supervisor, as well as “exemplary” marks and performance reviews before his boss learned he was gay.
TerVeer said the harassment started when his supervisor forwarded a “threatening” email to him stating “Diversity – Let’s Celebrate It” alongside a picture of assault rifles.
Fired on April 6 for missing 37 consecutive workdays, TerVeer said he was on disability leave because of a severe anxiety disorder triggered by a hostile work environment. Although he said a supervisor had signed off on the leave, he said the Library of Congress said the leave had expired.
“It felt like the seams were coming undone on a career that I had moved halfway across the country for and that was my everything,” TerVeer said.
He filed a complaint in late 2011 based on religious and sexual orientation harassment and discrimination with the Library of Congress’ Equal Employment Opportunity Complaints Office, which is expected to respond by May 9. Thomas Simeone, TerVeer’s attorney, said TerVeer could either accept its terms, file an appeal with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or a private lawsuit.
In February 2008, the Fremont, Mich., native moved to Washington, D.C., with high hopes. He’d been hired at the Library of Congress on a temporary basis and became a permanent management analyst in October 2008. In January 2009, he was placed on a career track, and received promotions in March 2009 and March 2011.
TerVeer said he had “dealt with” confrontations about his sexual orientation when he lived in Michigan and hoped to share his sexual orientation when he “was more established” in his job.
About four years before his move to D.C., TerVeer said he’d come out to his Christian parents, and although they’re now “very supportive,” that wasn’t always the case.
“I had known there was a conservative element in my supervisor, and figured it would be better after transitioning into a new career,” he said.
TerVeer said he and his supervisor had had a “very cordial relationship.” They both enjoyed football and discussed politics. His supervisor invited TerVeer to a University of Maryland football game with his wife and son.
TerVeer said his supervisor “pushed” his daughter, whom TerVeer has never met, “onto me,” and she then friended him on Facebook.
Around August 2009, TerVeer said he “liked” the Facebook page, Two Dads. It was around that time that Facebook had updated its privacy settings, publishing user actions on users’ walls.
TerVeer said his supervisor’s daughter saw the “like” action on his wall, and subsequently commented “You’re not one of those weirdos, are you?” The next day, TerVeer said she “unfriended” him and blocked him from her Facebook page.
From that day on, TerVeer said he was treated differently at work. After TerVeer received the email with a photo of the rifles, he said his supervisor began to lecture him about religion.
A spokeswoman for the Library of Congress said the library does not comment on personnel matters.
“Library of Congress employees, like all employees in the federal government, have protection against workplace discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “Library employees who believe they have been subjected to discrimination may avail themselves of an internal administrative process to address their equal employment opportunity complaints.”
Article source: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/facebook-led-discrimination-gay-federal-worker/story?id=16126685
Facebook’s blockbuster initial public offering could be coming at just the right time for markets — when investors are preparing for the seemingly annual ritual to sell in May and go away.
Stocks have been volatile but ultimately have gone nowhere in the past month, following a strong rally off the October lows.
With investor complacency setting in and the time seemingly perfect to book gains and get ready for vacation, the Facebook IPO is considered a primary hope to keep the market from slipping into summer slumber.
“Clearly, it’s going to be the biggest IPO in a while, and one of the knocks on this market has been the lack of IPOs,” says Ryan Detrick, senior analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research in Cincinnati. “It all comes down to a lack of trust and lack of confidence in the market, even though we’ve had a pretty good rally.”
Since the Dow industrials broke through the 13,000 barrier in early March, the market has posted a modest loss as investors have looked for a new catalyst to spur buying.
At the same time, the climate for new offerings has been tepid.
There have been 60 IPOs offered in the US, totaling just shy of $10 billion so far in 2012. That’s 12 fewer total deals and a staggering 67 percent drop in total value from the $30.4 billion posted for the same period in 2011, according to Dealogic. Globally, the decline has been comparable.
One bright spot, though, is that technology deals are on par with 2011, giving hope that the sector can provide a rising tide.
“The Facebook IPO potentially could open the door to other IPOs and some more confidence toward the stock market,” Detrick says. “In the bigger picture it would be nice to talk about some positives after all the negatives.”
The offering is expected to launch in May, generate up to $10 billion and reflect a valuation for the 8-year-old company in the $100 billion range.
Should Facebook meet those gaudy metrics it would be hard to imagine it not boosting the market, particularly the Nasdaq
] tech gauge where it will be listed. Tech stocks have led the market this year, with the sector up nearly 21 percent on the Standard Poor’s 500
] heading into Friday trading.
“This offers hope that we’re going to see more IPOs, especially in social networking. Obviously, investors will be looking beyond Facebook,” says Peter Cardillo, chief economic strategist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York. “An increase in IPOs suggests that corporate America is confident in the economic expansion.”
The Facebook IPO follows a handful of other high-profile offerings in the field, primarily Groupon
] and Zynga
To be sure, some worry that the Facebook move may not signal merely a pinnacle in the space’s progress but also a top in a potential social networking bubble that ultimately could weigh on the market.
“In hindsight people might look back and say once Facebook became public it was more of an identification of all the social media companies that have come out and are trading at incredible multiples,” says Gary Hager, president of Integrated Wealth Management in Edison, N.J. “There’s a frothiness to the social media side that is going to have its comeuppance soon.”
Indeed, LinkedIn — a kind of Facebook for professionals — has seen its shares soar 75 percent just since December, and the company is trading at nearly 900 times earnings. Zynga and Groupon have turned in performances far less stellar.
“One would expect that (the IPO) would be done smartly, efficiently and the IPO itself will go OK,” says Rick Bensignor, chief market strategist at Merlin Securities in New York. “Whether that becomes the catalyst for a significantly higher market move, I would tend to think less so — that it becomes the catalyst for where the market would peak.”
The IPO’s timing, CNBC reported earlier this week, likely will be dependent on the Securities and Exchange Commission’s review of the company’s $1 billion bid for Instagram, an upstart company with virtually no revenue that developed a photo-sharing application for users.
Once that hurdle is cleared, the market can get ready for what likely will be the largest offering Wall Street has ever seen.
“Hopefully this will get people excited about the market,” says Detrick, of Schaeffer’s Investment Research. “There’s a lot of concern about a selloff in May. That could be the time frame that saves us.”
Article source: http://www.cnbc.com/id/47041144
Facebook just spent $1 billion to acquire Instagram, the 554 day-old company behind an app that, at least on the surface, offers everything you can already get on Facebook, only with filters that make drab photographs look pretty.
You can post photos, “like” the pictures other users have shared, or leave comments on friends’ images — just like you can on Facebook.
So why would the Godzilla of social networks bother itself with this gnat of an app?
Understanding Facebook’s Instagram affair means starting with the simple fact that the app mastered an activity that makes up the heart and soul of Facebook: sharing photos among friends. There’s a key difference between the two social services, however, and one that has made Instagram’s images worth a thousand words to its users and $1 billion to Facebook. While the images on Facebook are an archive, the images on Instagram are alive.
Facebook showcases memories — last week’s wedding, dinner, birthday, vacation — while Instagram frames moments — the tulips you just passed, the sun hitting a building during your morning run, or the bizarre quote you saw on a talk show.
Designed from the ground up for our phones, not our laptops, Instagram has, more gracefully than Facebook, leveraged the simple fact that we have a camera in our pockets more often than a pen to create an outlet for images that are intimate and immediate.
It taps into our desire to share and be seen, but lets us do so exclusively via images, which require less thought than text to both post and process. There’s no fiddling around with a mini keyboard, no danger of typos, and less risk of offending. The barebones design — five clicks and you’re done — makes it blissfully simple to abide by Instagram’s unspoken manifesto: share now, share often, and share something lovely. And with the knowledge that there’ll be a new delicacy every time we check back, Instagram keeps us coming back regularly for more.
Instagram is also a storytelling app, one that speaks to our fast click nation’s growing addiction to visual status updates that are beautiful and of the moment. Facebook understood early on that if you control how people share photos with each other, you control how people share stories with each other — and if you control that, then you control social. By bringing Instagram into the fold, Facebook is better positioned to tap into the photo sharing we do “in the moment” and safeguard its status as the web’s photo album and teller of stories about people.
The Financial Times‘ Duncan Robinson recently marveled that Facebook had spent $1 billion to buy an app “used mainly by hipsters to take photos of their lunch – in sepia.” Robinson’s jab actually helps explain what’s so compelling about the app, and it’s no coincidence that same critique was leveled at Twitter in its early days, when it was dismissed as a forum for chatter about meals and bathroom breaks.
Like Twitter, Instagram offers real-time access to the lives of the people who matter to us, and next to their constantly updated feeds, the pace of new posts in Facebook’s News Feed appears positively glacial. Having missed its shot at snapping up Twitter, Facebook may be again trying to nail the insta-update with Instagram.
The power of pretty can’t be ignored, either. On the whole, Facebook photos lack the dreaminess of Instagram’s snapshots, as well as the focus on our surroundings, rather than ourselves. Scrolling through my Instagram account reveals images of a lavendar bouquet, a dog lounging at the beach, and a metal subway panel reading “hope.” Instagram belongs to an increasingly popular cohort of sites, including Pinterest, Tumblr and Svpply, that provide a platform for us to share pictures that inspire and amuse — and, quite often, aren’t of us. What I wrote of Pinterest holds true for Instagram: It’s “look at this,” not “look at me.” On Facebook, that’s rarely been the case.
Say what you will about filters — they deliver some delicious eye candy. And while perusing photos on Facebook inevitably makes me feel that I was left out of whatever get-together I see, Instagram just feels good. It offers an entry point into a world where everything is lovely and, quite frequently, seen through rose-colored glasses. In an age of information overload, it feels good to get a brain vacation from Facebook and see our friends’ “wish you were here” images.
A professor at the University of California Berkeley recently found that even automated text messages reminding his patients to “reflect on positive interactions” could make them feel more cared for, connected and supported. Instagram, which largely showcases “positive interactions,” also stands to soothe the soul. It seems hard to put a price on that.
Follow Bianca Bosker on Twitter:
Article source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bianca-bosker/instagram-facebook_b_1423775.html
(Brian Snyder – Reuters)
Lady Gaga has a fierce legion of fans, known as her Little Monsters, who seem to coo over her every move. But the singer is now seeing the power one Twitter hashtag can have on them and the pain it can cause.
“Just killed back to back spin classes. Eating a salad dreaming of a cheeseburger #PopSingersDontEat #IWasBornThisWay,” she tweeted earlier this week.
It’s a seemingly inane tweet until you get to the first hashtag: “Pop Singers Don’t Eat.”
Assuming this was meant to be funny (and I believe it was), it seems odd for a woman who has suffered from an eating disorder and speaks so passionately about self-acceptance to make a joke about dieting.
Others felt that way too. The National Eating Disorders Association tweeted, “Huh? This is the same person who recently implored girls to stop dieting?”
The Association’s online forum for teens, Proud2BMe, said via Twitter that there’s a high risk the hashtag could be misinterpreted by some of Gaga’s 22 million followers.
“Some of her fans — not haters — w/ eating disorders were offended,” Proud2BMe tweeted. “We heard from them. So we hope @ladygaga clarifies her mssg.”
Undoubtedly, some will feel that this is an overreaction to a tweet meant in jest.
Gaga has not responded to the tweet and likely will not, considering her self-imposed media ban.
What do you think of the tweet? Do you think Gaga’s a role model and should be cautious about the jokes she makes on Twitter? Do you think this is a mountain-molehill situation? Tell us in the comments.
Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/celebritology/post/lady-gaga-learns-the-power-of-a-twitter-hashtag/2012/04/13/gIQALeX5ET_blog.html?tid=pm_entertainment_pop
Courtney Love and her daughter Frances Bean Cobain arrive at the Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Awards on Feb. 8, 2007, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
(CBS News) Frances Bean Cobain is blasting her mother, Courtney Love, over comments made earlier this week.
Love wrote on her private Twitter account that former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl, 43, had “hit on” her 19-year-old daughter, and “she was curious.”
Read more: Kurt Cobain’s last days documented in photography exhibit
“I’m not mad at her, him i am about to shoot dead,” Love wrote.
Cobain later released a statement explaining, “While I’m generally silent on the affairs of my biological mother, her recent tirade has taken a gross turn. I have never been approached by Dave Grohl in more than a platonic way.”
I’m in a monogamous relationship and very happy,” explained Cobain, who’s engaged to Rambles frontman Isaiah Silva.
“Twitter should ban my mother,” said the daughter of late Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain.
Foo Fighters rocker Grohl is also speaking up against Love, saying, “Unfortunately Courtney is on another hateful twitter rant. These new accusations are upsetting, offensive and absolutely untrue.”
Tell us: Do you think Twitter should ban Love?
Article source: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-31749_162-57413744-10391698/frances-bean-cobain-twitter-should-ban-my-mother/
WASHINGTON – Almost from the moment Democratic strategist and CNN commentator Hilary Rosen made her controversial comments about Ann Romney, the story spread like wildfire through Twitter, the Internet and network TV, with rapid-fire reaction that has barely slowed since.
Rosen made her comments Wednesday on CNN at 8:52 p.m. ET , suggesting Romney was the wrong person on husband Mitt Romney’s GOP presidential primary campaign to be addressing women’s issues — considering “she’s never worked a day it her life.”
With a matter of minutes – enough time for the full impact of Rosen’s comments to be absorbed – critics took to Twitter and other social media to respond.
Twitter traffic mentioning Romney spiked from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Wednesday from essentially zero to 3,000 tweets, then soared Thursday morning from less than 1,000 to about 6,800 before leveling off in the afternoon, according to analytic.topsey.com.
The firm reports that Romney-Rosen tweets crush those about Justin Bieber, Twitter’s most popular subject.
Rosen, sensing the firestorm she had touched off, fired off three tweets at about 10 p.m.
“When I said Ann Romney never worked I meant she never had to care for her kids AND earn a paycheck like MOST American women!,” Rosen tweeted at 9:55 p.m.
Two more Rosen tweets followed within 14 minutes, with the first saying she had “nothing against Ann Romney and that she just didn’t want “Mitt using her as an expert on women struggling (with) $ to support their family,” then “Mitt Romney is running for president, not Ann.”
The Romney campaign website posted no tweets in the immediate aftermath, but Ann Romney made her debut on Twitter at 10:18 p.m., saying, “I made a choice to stay home and raise five boys. Believe me, it was hard work.”
Her son Josh followed with his own, saying his mother “is one of the smartest, hardest working women I know” who “could have done anything with her life, chose to raise me.”
The 64-year-old Romney is a mother of five and grandmother of 16. She has battle cancer and multiple sclerosis.
Top Obama campaign officials were quick to distance the reelection effort from the Rosen comments.
“I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a tweet.
Campaign strategist David Axelrod tweeted: “Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive.”
Even first lady Michele Obama commented.
“Every mother works hard, and every woman deserves to be respected,” she tweeted on the reelection site.
Her husband, President Obama, was more direct on TV on Thursday night, saying Rosen’s comments were “ill advised” and that Romney “seems like a wonderful woman.”
Rosen, returned to the CNN airways twice Thursday, finally apologizing on camera.
She said on CNN that she “should not have chosen words that seemed to attack Romney’s choice in life” and that she hoped Romney understands she “didn’t mean it personally.”
Rosen, who has twins with ex-partner Elizabeth Birch, said she was trying to talk about economic issues, then added, “This is going to be an ugly campaign season.”
Article source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/04/13/rosen-romney-slight-ignites-twitter-outpaces-bieber/
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Article source: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/facebook/facebook-unifying-vanity-urls-and-e-mail-addresses/11725
NEW YORK, April 11 |
NEW YORK, April 11 (Reuters) – It’s not often that a
two-year-old start-up becomes a $1 billion company.
Yet Instagram, a popular smartphone application that allows
users to tweak photos and share them with their friends, was
paid that by Facebook Inc in a deal announced on Monday.
The purchase of the San Francisco-based private company
helps Facebook both strengthen its core photo-sharing services
and take out a possible competitor all at once, analysts said.
Venture capitalists that invested in Instagram before the
Facebook deal reportedly doubled their money in the span of a
Few retail investors can take part in these early funding
rounds that become hugely profitable once a company goes public
or is taken over by a competitor. But there are ways to profit
from the growing social media and mobile computing sectors that
don’t involve giving money to a VC firm in Silicon Valley.
TECH MA HEATING UP
The high price that Facebook paid for Instagram may be a
sign mergers and acquisitions will pick up across the cash-rich
technology sector, potentially making large companies more
“Facebook is very acquisitive and has a pretty robust MA
strategy which is only going to get more robust once they go
public,” said Ed Zimmerman, the head of the technology group at
Lowenstein Sandler, a law firm that works with venture capital
and private equity firms to negotiate and close deals.
Michael O’Bryan, the co-head of the MA practice at Morrison
Foerster, said large-tech companies such as Google Inc
, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp will
likely step up their acquisitions this year to keep up with the
rapidly expanding social media and mobile markets.
These deals are focused more on finding products or apps
that have buzz and momentum than on those that are profitable,
he said. Purchases are typically meant to help them expand their
platform of products and services in ways they may be lacking.
Google may be especially prone to signing new deals to
better position itself for growth as its core business of web
search and advertising faces new challenges.
“We see the growth of semi-closed and prominent networks
including Facebook, Twitter and Siri/Apps in general as an
increasing threat to Google – not only as competition for ad
dollars, but also to search quality and therefore monetization,”
Daniel Ernst, an analyst at Hudson Square Research, said in
March 29 note to clients.
Google shares have been stagnant lately, despite the
market’s 2012 rally. The stock price is down 2.9 percent since
the start of the year, compared with an 8 percent jump in the
SP 500 index, based on afternoon trading on Tuesday. At around
$633 per share, the company’s shares are well below the average
analyst target price of $721, according to Thomson Reuters data.
The company reports its earnings on April 12 after the bell.
A jump in MA activity would also mean more fees for the
financial firms that structure deals. The value of global MA
deals dropped to $416 billion in the first quarter of 2012 from
$737 billion over the same period in 2011, according to
preliminary Thomson Reuters data. Mergers in the United States
totaled $127 billion, a 60 percent drop from 2011. JPMorgan
Chase Co, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Citigroup
Inc were the most active firms in the industry.
JPMorgan may be one of the strongest firms of the group
because of a diversified base that includes a strong credit card
arm, according to analysts at Trefis, an online stock analytics
service. The company recently announced it would raise its
dividend by 20 percent, paying out 30 cents per quarter instead
of 25 cents.
JPMorgan trades at a price to earnings ratio of 9.6, well
below the nearly 14 multiple of the broad Standard Poor’s 500
index, and pays a dividend yield of 2.8 percent. It is down 8
percent over the last 12 months, a figure that includes its 29
percent jump since the start of 2012.
BUY THE TOLLTAKERS
A less risky way to play the social media and mobile market
could be to look at the telecommunications sector.
ATT Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, for
instance, are the largest U.S. wireless data carriers and should
be attractive to income investors, said John Manley, chief
equity strategist at Wells Fargo Funds.
“These are classic yield plays. They are bond substitutes,
with the kicker that they are in a pretty good growth business,”
ATT offers a dividend yield of 5.8 percent. The company’s
shares are largely unchanged since the start of the year,
dropping only 0.3 percent. Verizon offers a yield of 5.4
percent. Its shares are down 8 percent since the start of the
The iShares SP Global Telecommunications ETF
offers a way to expand this bet overseas. ATT, Vodafone Group
Plc , Verizon and Telefonica SA make up its
largest positions. The $436 million fund yields 5.4 percent and
costs 48 cents per $100 invested. It is up 1.3 percent since the
start of the year.
Article source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/04/11/mobile-ma-idUSL2E8FBIB320120411
Two apps, in the span of a couple of weeks, capitalize on two truths. Truth number one: Most of us are pretty terrible artists. Truth number two: The lack of any artistic skill whatsoever won’t stop anyone from trying. Nothing makes a bad photograph look tolerable faster than blowing out the levels, throwing the contrast out of whack, and adding sepia tones. And I’m not the world’s finest illustrator, but when the collective canvas is a finger stylus on a 3.5 inch screen, my stick figures are just as good as anyone else’s.
Zynga and Facebook each have a gaping hole in their business model. In Zynga’s case, its mobile strategy hasn’t been very impressive. In fact, they are almost entirely dependent on Facebook where Flash is the norm. Getting their hands on Draw Something gives them a huge user base on a mobile phone, but more importantly, those users aren’t walled inside The Social Network.
Facebook, on the other hand, seems to have a harder case to make. Instagram is a nifty program with a lot of users, but Zuckerberg Co. already have huge iOS penetration — theirs is one of the most-often installed apps on the iPhone. And judging by my Facebook news feed, there’s no shortage of out-of-focus pictures. In fact, Instagram photos already appear pretty frequently: or rather, they did a year or so ago before it became a cliche. One poll even pegs Instagram as the worst of the “photo irritations” on Facebook (assuming you trust a poll conducted by a company that might have an axe to grind against free photo editing utilities). And how long before the Draw Something fad is just another Rubiks Cube? Do any of your friends still play Mob Wars?
There are a few clear messages here. First, if you manage to work your way up to a 9-figure user base for an iPhone app, you are now apparently worth a billion dollars. It doesn’t matter if your users are drawing a stick figure Darth Vader, artificially aging photographs, or doing something actually useful. Second, the new generation of big Internet players are here, and not scared to spend their IPO riches. And third, everyone loves to make and share stuff — hopefully apps that empower everyone to feel a little more creative will be the trend to follow. This makes me much happier than the endorphin-regulating crop of free-to-play apps like Tiny Tower that have made a science out of maximizing your play time for the minimum amount of fun.
In other words, fun is worth a billion bucks, provided you can get a user base half the size of the United States to install it on their iPhones.
Full disclosure: The Washington Post Co.’s chairman and chief executive, Donald E. Graham, is a member of Facebook’s board of directors
Article source: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/on-innovations/instagram-draw-something-and-a-couple-billion-bucks-of-fun/2012/04/12/gIQAdutyDT_story.html
13 April 2012
Last updated at 06:09 ET
A camera will be allowed to film as judge Lord Bracadale sentences David Gilroy
Scottish legal authorities have granted permission for Twitter to be used to report the conclusion of a murder trial at the High Court.
The sentencing of David Gilroy, who killed Edinburgh woman Suzanne Pilley, is due to take place next Wednesday.
Earlier this week permission was also granted to film the proceedings.
Twitter use has been allowed before in a Scottish court but it will be the first time a sentencing at the High Court in Scotland has been filmed.
Gilroy was found guilty by a jury last month of murdering 38-year-old bookkeeper Ms Pilley.
She disappeared in May 2010 but her body has never been found.
Prosecutors believed that Gilroy, 49, buried his former lover in a “lonely grave” in a remote part of Argyll.
Gilroy will be sentenced on Wednesday 18 April.
During the filming, the camera will focus on the judge – no one else will feature in the footage except the macer and the clerk. Gilroy himself will not be filmed.
Live updating on Twitter from a Scottish court was allowed for the first time for the sentencing of former MSP Tommy Sheridan in January 2011.
However, guidance issued at the end of last year confirmed journalists in Scotland would not be allowed to use live text-based communication without specific clearance.
Journalists south of the border have been told by the Lord Chief Justice to “twitter as much as you like”.
Article source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-17701366
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